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ICC Note:
Over the past year, attacks on Christians and their places of worship in Sri Lanka has seen a dramatic increase in both number and intensity. Radical Buddhism seems to be gripping a sizable portion of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist population and is driving these radicals to commit acts of violence. The radicals claim they are punishing Christians for forcefully converting Buddhists to Christianity and for running unregistered churches. Will this trend continue to rise?
9/19/2013 Sri Lanka (Asia News) – Tensions are rising in Sri Lanka because of the violence perpetrated by some radical Sinhalese Buddhists groups against Christian communities, whom they accuse of engaging in “forced conversions” and of trying to “destroy” Buddhist culture.
The latest incident occurred on 8 September when a group of fundamentalists attacked the Pentecostal Church of the Living Water in Meegoda, a village near Colombo.
“The attack was unmotivated,” Buddhist lawyer Susantha Dodawatta told AsiaNews, because “nothing happened between the two communities in the area.”
Pitipana Seelawansa Thero, a Buddhist monk who heads the Padukka Puraanas Viharaya Temple, led the attack, along with four of his followers: Rangana Jayarathna, Chandrapala, Sunil Perera and Damith Nilanga. None of them lives in Meegoda.
The attackers claim the church is unregistered and that conversions by Christians are a big problem for the village. Despite complaints by the pastor, Rev E K Pryantha, the police have not yet arrested the culprits.
“Such attacks,” the lawyer said, “show that there is a political agenda that aims to unite the Buddhists. Everyone should have the freedom to change religion in this country. We Buddhists are the first to be harmed in our culture and religion from these petty actions. Whoever is behind this incident should not be supported. As a Buddhist, I feel embarrassed because real Buddhism is not about attacking and killing.”

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